Broadband in House versus in Senate Stimulus Proposals

Congress is looking at two versions of the stimulus proposals. There are some pretty important differences as far as broadband goes.

Here are the differences:

Money: The House offers $6 billion while the Senate offers $9 billion.
Speed: The House says 45 mbps while the Senate says 100 mbps.
Rural areas: The House saves 75 % for rural areas while the Senate saves 50 %.
Open Access: The House requires it while the Senate doesn’t.

(One caveat – the House asks the FCC to define Open Access – but unless there’s a big shock coming to head of the FCC, I think the expectation is that they would be more amenable to Open Access than they would have been a month ago.)

Who’s in and who’s out?

Verizon is pleased:

We believe that federal policy should encourage investment in a new ultra high-speed communications infrastructure. We also believe tax credits are the best way to encourage additional deployment of ultra high-speed networks across the country that will generate jobs, stimulate the economy, enhance international competitiveness, and improve productivity. And, like President Obama, we are convinced broadband is helping to address challenges in health care, the environment and education.

I didn’t see any mention of rural or other underserved areas.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association doesn’t love it.

The 100 mbps threshold does them no favors since it really points to fiber. So they created a video that urges Congress to look at affordability, adoption in terms of providing computer, focus deployment into un-served areas. He minimizes the importance of focusing on speed so soon.

The Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance and Qwest are saying $6 billion is not enough.

Taken from the Wall Street Journal: A trade group representing midsize telecom providers with 27 million customers (ITTS} says its members alone would require $6 billion to $6.5 billion to reach about 3.6 million homes in their territories that don’t have high-speed Internet access.

Google seems happy enough.

On CNBC, Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive urges a quick movement forward. The money is a down payment – it will get jobs in the market it will get things started.

This entry was posted in Policy by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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